Glory Film Analysis

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In the film Glory directed by Edward Zwick, the Civil War is portrayed through the eyes of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts regiment, which was composed of African American men fighting against the Confederates for freedom. The commander of this regiment, Robert Shaw, was born into an abolitionist family and accepted the role of the first all-black regiment in the Northeast, despite the potential threats of the South. The movie focuses on four black soldiers and their experiences during the war as well as their relationships with their fellow soldiers and commanders, including Shaw. Throughout the movie, Shaw’s perspective is also seen and the conflicting emotions he felt are demonstrated by the choices he is forced to make. While some may argue…show more content…
One very moving scene shows Trip, one of the black soldiers, being whipped in front of the other men as punishment for attempting to desert to warn the other men to behave or they will face the same sentence. A sergeant says that “The prisoner is to be flogged before the entire regiment” because he tried to desert. Trip is dragged to a wagon, which will be used as a whipping post, and a sergeant takes off his coat and unties his hands as the other men crowd around to watch as commanded by their officers. His back is covered in scars from his time as a slave to signify how Shaw’s punishment is no better than it would have been in the South. Then, Shaw’s good friend, Major Forbes, who is part of the regiment and does not agree with this decision says, “Robert, not with a whip. Not on them”. In saying this Forbes understands how ironic, cruel, and wrong it is for them to be whipping a former slave who is fighting for the abolishment of slavery because then they are sinking to the level of the Confederates. Furthermore, when Shaw tells him to never question his authority Forbes mocks him and says, “I is sorry, master. You be the boss man now and all us childrens must obey”. By acting like a slave and calling Shaw “master”, Forbes gets his point across that they should not be treating their men in such a terrible way and instead treat them like soldiers.…show more content…
It also brings to light the sacrifices and bravery these African Americans made so that their families could experience freedom the way they were able to in the North. Moreover, it demonstrates how not every white soldier in the North was against slavery and racism, which is a common belief of many people. But, it also shows that the war changed many people's opinions over blacks and their abilities. The progression of black soldiers treatment over the course of the war was immense, as they began by solely doing manual labor and ended being recognized as one of the reasons the North won the war. This same pattern is being followed today, but instead of black rights, it is the rights of women because they are proving their abilities and diminishing stereotypes. If this continues men and women will soon be viewed as equals by most, just like blacks and
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